6 Things NOT To Do In A Job Interview

job interview common mistakes

For many people, the most stressful part of the job-hunting process is the interview. That's the time when you have to sell yourself and prove why you're perfectly suited for the job. Many well-qualified people stumble and make mistakes that kill their chances of getting the job. Here are the most common mistakes I see people make:

Carrying too much stuff into the interview. You want to seem the consummate professional, not a harried traveler navigating through airport security. A slim portfolio or folder to carry extra resumes, pad and pen is all you should have. Ask if you can store your overcoat, umbrella or heavy bag while you are interviewing. Don't carry a beverage into the interview but if they offer you something during your meeting, always take the water. If you get thirsty later, you'll appreciate it (and unlike soda, coffee and tea, water dries clear should you spill it.)

Bragging that you're a 'perfectionist.' Many interviewers will see this as a red flag; it means you're difficult to work with and will never let go of a project. Say, instead, you're detail-oriented.

Confessing to multiple weaknesses. Interviewers commonly ask job applicants to describe their biggest weakness to see if people are humble and self-aware enough to identify something they can improve upon. But that doesn't mean you should cite a list of faults. Name one weakness that is relevant to the job, and explain how you are working to improve that skill.

Giving obviously rehearsed answers. It's important that you seem relatable, natural and likable, as well as competent and smart. Show your personality since the interviewer is checking you out for a workplace fit. I think of this as the "airport test": If the interviewer got stuck in the airport with you for several hours, would he or she consider you a desirable co-worker? Or would you be the kind of person who drove everyone crazy?

Having no clue about the company you're interviewing with. You should always be able to answer the question, "Tell me what you know about this company." Before the interview, you need to check out the company's website and speak with people who might also know the organization. This is how the human resources team determines if you are just fishing for any job or you are genuinely interested in their company and this particular opportunity. An interviewer wants to know that you took the time to do your due diligence since competition is fierce and not preparing indicates a lack of seriousness.

Answering your phone or fumbling with it. Sure, it's rude if the interviewer is constantly checking his BlackBerry, but if your phone goes off during the interview, you just look unprofessional. Seriously, if the phone is set to beep, light or play a concerto, make sure it's really powered off before the interview so you give your undivided attention.

Are there more mistakes you have seen job candidates make -- or made yourself? Share them in the comments section below.

How to Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

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I was quite anxious at an conference until the conference panel individual requested for me if "I always performed during interviews? End of conference. I was't performing just performing, I think!

February 04 2014 at 4:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Prosen

As a former Fortune 500 executive I’ve hired hundreds of employees. Both employed and unemployed.

The key to getting hired whether there’s an opening or not is to customize your approach. If not, you won’t stand out or get an interview. So stop blasting out countless resumes. Most never make it through the automated screening process and even less make it into the hands of a real person in HR.

Your target is not HR! It's the hiring manager that matters most.

Companies hire people to solve problems (both positive and negative). Your ability to uncover your target employers problems and position yourself as the solution is what will get you hired even when there are no open postings.

NEVER leave an interview without giving the hiring manager either an article, video or white paper that provides additional advice on how to solve one of their current business problems. No self promotion!

Bob Prosen
The Prosen Center.
for Business Advancement.

October 21 2012 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't worry about these suggestions.

You aren't going to get the job anyway.

September 03 2012 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These are great tips to remember during an interview. We posted a job search guide that includes interview tips http://academy.justjobs.com/the-complete-job-search-guide/#interviewing to help job seekers be prepared. I hope it's useful. - Erich

August 28 2012 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think some answers need to be rehearsed. If you have been fired, you better know how to explain it well, with a calm emotion. Rehearsing will give you more confidence and calm when it comes to the sticky questions. Just remember to deliver it as a natural answer. Pausing works well during your explanation. Sounds like it's coming off the top of your head. And keep it short as possible. Going on and on gives the impression you're a whiner.

August 28 2012 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I remember doing an interview for a candidate after my boss had talked with him. Basically to get to know more about his mechanical expertise, as I was working for a large auto company at the time. As I was showing him around the test lab and describing what we do, I asked if he was working on any projects at home. I asked because the majority of the people working in the test lab had outside projects. He was very proud to tell me about his project rebuilding and adding a larger engine into his 1978 S-10 Pickup. I told him that this was remarkable and ended the interview. When I then sat down with the Engineering Director and my boss they asked my opinion, I told the how he was boasting about his home project being a 1978 S-10 and stated that if he can do that he is something special since the S-10 wasn't in production until the 1982 model year. Needless to say he was not asked back or offered a position.....

August 28 2012 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that all the responses including the article was very informative, but sometimes there are situations that a person has no control over, meaning you may unfortunately resemble or remind the interviewer of a person that they may not like and inadvertently that person may react negatively towards you, or there may be racial discrimination involved.

August 27 2012 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One thing that I think HELPED me in an interview recently is the answer I gave to that dreaded question that many of us in this economy has been confronted with when lucky enough to land an interview.... "We have narrowed our search down to yourself and one other candidate. Both of you are way overqualified for this position. Why should I hire you over him?" I responded by giving the following answer. "I don't like the term "Overqualified. I prefer the term Adaptable. By that I mean I came into this interview knowing what this job pays, what kind of work it entails, and after considering these and other factors, I decided that rather than being a detriment, I see it as a challange to begin a new career that I can grow into and develop into my own. The fact that it might not be as lucrative or fullfulling as my prior position on some levels I see not as a handicap, but as a challenge and an opportunity". A few days later I was hired and told that the interviewer liked my answer to that question. Whether that was really the case I'll never know but at least I got the job.

August 27 2012 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was interviewing a person for a position with my company just last week. In the middle of the interview, his phone rang. He politely said "excuse me" and answered his phone!! I was so shocked I almost burst out laughing. I pointed to the front door and told him he should take the call outside so he could hear himself better, which he did. Incredibly, he came back in after the call assuming he would continue his interview. I politely told him, thank you and the interview was over when his phone rang.

August 27 2012 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Avoid farting and belching.

August 27 2012 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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